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Kids’ Ocean Day: Through The Years

Today’s blog post comes from Monica Rosquillas, our environmental educator.

Kids’ Ocean Day is just around the corner, only 1 week away! This is a BIG event; almost 1,000 San Diego Unified Elementary school students from 7 title-one schools will come out to the beach to participate in a cleanup and be part of an aerial art formation.   Although I Love A Clean San Diego has been participating in Kids Ocean Day for the last 15 years, this is my first Kids Ocean Day and I couldn’t be more excited…and nervous.  If you would like to be a part of this one-of-a-kind event, adult volunteers are needed from 8am-12pm. Please contact Lexi Ambrogi at

A sketch of this year's aerial art
A sketch of this year’s aerial art

What is aerial art? Good question! It is art that you can see from the sky! Participants gather to create a message of conservation, which will be captured by Out of the Lens photographer, Niki, in a helicopter.  To help us out on this big day we’ll have more than 100 amazing volunteers, including teachers and parents. So how exactly do we get the image on the ground? The ILACSD Aerial Art Team will be arriving very early in the morning to outline the design of the aerial art. This part is crucial; we have to make sure everything is measured out precisely so that our design comes out as planned.  Communication and attention to detail are key, after all, it takes a lot of hands to turn a 8.5”x11” drawing into a 170’x300’ aerial art piece. After the cleanup, the students will form part of the aerial art. Once everyone is in place, a helicopter will fly overhead and Niki will take photographs from a bird’s eye view. Since we can’t see what the design looks like from the ground, we have to trust that we measured everything correctly and that our design came out well. This is the moment we are looking forward to with most anticipation! Fortunately, we have a few Kids’ Ocean Day veterans on our aerial art team who have years of experience. As you can see from the pictures, I Love A Clean San Diego has done a great job with previous aerial art design and event execution, and although we do have a very daunting task ahead of us, we are positive this year’s Kids’ Ocean Day will be a success!

Every year, Kids’ Ocean Day sends a new message that’s all about protecting and conserving our Oceans. The message this year is “Listen”. What’s so great about this message is that it is from the kids, and it can be interpreted in different ways. What does it mean to you?

This year’s design is child holding a shell to her ear and the word “Listen”. The kid with the shell is a bit of change from previous years when we’ve had marine animals be our aerial art piece. That’s why this year’s is unique and special. In previous years we’ve had an Octopus, a Mako Shark, a California Least Tern, A Sea Turtle, A Bottlenose Dolphin, a Gray Whale, and a snail. All of these are important animal species that inhabit our local marine habitats.

Our 2012 aerial art sketch turns into...
Our 2012 aerial art sketch turns into…
A real-life image made up of almost 1,000 kids!
A real-life image made up of almost 1,000 kids!

Why do this? Why do we arrive at the beach at 5 in the morning and bring hundreds of students and adults to form a child and shell in the sand? Partly because the aerial art looks really cool. All those little dots in the picture are actually people, forming a huge image, it’s not something you do every day. We hope the children experience this as well. They get to come to the beach on a school day, actively help the environment by participating in a beach cleanup, and be a part of this cool picture that they can have forever. The most important part is that they are giving the message of “Listen”; telling the world we have to listen to the ocean and help.